Energy poverty sustains poverty because electricity is the foundation of all economic development

This outstanding article below, by PD Lawton, creator of the website, AfricanAgenda.net, and a colleague of mine, provides an excellent presentation on the need for energy in Africa; particularly nuclear energy.

Nuclear Energy Can Eliminate Poverty in Africa

Nuclear Energy: Employment Creation, Science and Technology

The nuclear industry acts as a science driver for an economy unlike the renewables industry. Nuclear promotes research and development at the high end of science. The need for high level skills is an opportunity for Africa to uplift the labour market.
Koeberg is Africa`s first and at present, only nuclear power station, situated in Cape Town, South Africa. It provides in excess of 1500 highly skilled permanent employment opportunities, and that is consistant for up to 80 years.
Nuclear is a high density form of energy which makes it the most progressive source of energy production unlike wind and solar which are low density.

A volume equivalent to a couple of soft drink cans of uranium will supply 1 person`s energy needs for the duration of their life!

If Koeberg ran on coal, it would take 6 train-loads of coal every day to keep it at 2000MW capacity. In fact it takes 1 truck-load of uranium per year!

Compared to hydro and renewables, nuclear has a very small land footprint.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton.

*(To the followers of my website, you many have noticed the absent of new posts over the last two weeks. That is because I went on on a 108 mile backpacking trip on the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia’s Shenandoah Park.)

Why is the Nation State of Ethiopia Under Attack? Is Regime Change on the Agenda?

September 6, 2021

Please watch the above interview from August 24, 2021 with with myself, and Deacon Yoseph Tafari, Chairman of the Ethiopian American Civic Council, on ETV’s weekly show, “Addis Dialogue.” We discuss the the current conflict in Tigray and its impact on the the existence of the nation-state of Ethiopia from a strategic perspective.

Our discussion includes answering the following questions: What are the reasons for the conflict? What has been the role of the United States since the November 4, 2020 attack by the TPLF on the Ethiopian National Defense Force in Mekele? Who are the outside interests that are undermining the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and why are they contemplating “regime change?” What is the strategic importance of Ethiopia to the Horn of Africa? Why is Ethiopia’s development model important to Africa? Why is the GERD being attacked when it will generate electricity for economic growth in the Horn of Africa? Why U.S. President Joe Biden, must immediately reverse current US policy and support the government of Ethiopia?

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

Promoting Economic Growth and Tranquility Should Replace Foreign Interventionism. The Case of Ethiopia 

Last U.S. soldier to leave Afghanistan

Promoting Economic Growth and Tranquility Should Replace Foreign Interventionism. The Case of Ethiopia 

Lawrence Freeman

September 2, 2021

As the United States was in the final days of evacuation from its twenty year old failed invasion of Afghanistan, the Washington Post called on President Joe Biden to impose more harsh penalties on the nation of Ethiopia. There are insights we can glean from the juxtaposition of these two events.

On August 27, the Washington Post editorial board called on President Joe Biden to issue additional sanctions against Ethiopia. The Post asserted that the government of Ethiopia is responsible for atrocities including civilian massacres, using rape as a weapon, and “causing the world’s worst hunger crisis in a decade.” No proof was provided other than reports from Amnesty International and comments by Samantha Power, Chief of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Readers of the Post editorial are expected to have accepted all the allegations by the media against Ethiopia over the last ten months as true and factual. However, a leaked video conversation by United Nations representatives in August, revealed an admission of no real evidence-data-to support the media’s unsubstantiated claim that Ethiopia used rape as a weapon of war.  Also, recent reports from USAID officials, indicate that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) have been stealing food intended to feed Ethiopians.  

The editorial continued, “If Eritrean officials deserve sanctions, the U.S. government must consider them for Ethiopian government officials, too.Conspicuously, while the Post asserts the alleged crimes of Ethiopia as genuine, they merely allude to “accusations” of atrocities by the TPLF. 

President Biden defends ending war in Afghanistan (courtesy of hindustaintimes.com)

Failed Foreign Interventions

Is President Biden foolish enough to allow Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Samantha Power, and others in his administration to lead the U.S. into another foreign disaster, after twenty years of failed interventions? This remains to be seen.

History often provides us with a real time juxtaposition of events that exposes an underlying reality, that might otherwise go unexamined by those who are habituated to regurgitating media induced popular opinion.

A week before the Washington Post publicly joined the liberal establishment’s campaign to weaken the government of Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed,in favor of separatist forces, Tony Blair defended the British-U.S. disastrous Afghanistan policy. Remember, Blair was British Prime Minister and Labor Party leader from 1997-2007.

In his wordy defense for geo-political motivated interventions, Blair castigated President Biden for pulling U.S. troops out of Afghanistan. Blair arrogantly insisted that it is the responsibility of the West to military intervene around the world in the guise of promoting so called democratic values. He wrote on August 21, “If the West wants to shape the 21st century, it will take commitment…we in the West represent values and interests worth being proud of defending.”

Blair attempts to justify a generation of Western intervention that has produced nothing but death, destruction, and suffering around the world.

Abetted by Blair, President George W Bush launched the invasion into Afghanistan, under the pretext of chasing down the terrorists responsible for the “9/11” bombings in the U.S. Except that the  majority of those responsible were citizens of Saudi Arabia, the geo-political ally of the U.S. in the Gulf region. Less than two years later, the U.S. invaded Iraq, led by Blair’s lies, searching for the non-existent weapons of mass destruction. How many millions of men, women and children have lost their lives or suffered horrible conditions because of the ill-fated Western adventure to destroy Iraq, a then relatively stable nation in the region.

Former President Obama’s overthrow and elimination of President Muammar Gaddafi almost ten years ago, purportedly to protect the Libyan people, has led to untold suffering of millions of Africans across the Sahel. This reckless intervention by liberal Democrat Obama, transformed the nation of Libya into a failed state, and has led to an expansion of violent extremist movements throughout the nations of the Sahel; still ongoing today. Obama’s support for “regime change” against Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, has done nothing but create more devastation in the Middle East. 

Now asked yourself; how many nations dedicated to the principles of American republicanism were nurtured into existence during this generation of U.S. and Western intervention?

Tony Blair and George Soros, leading liberal architects for regime change (courtesy of pagesix.com)

Blair and Soros Promulgate “R2P”

Blair, who chastises President Biden’s withdraw from Afghanistan,  epitomizes the “liberal Imperialist.” Under the guise of promoting democracy and so called western values around the world, Blair advocates “regime change” with complete disregard for national sovereignty.

In a 1999 Chicago presentation, Blair publicly advocated his infamous doctrine “responsibility to protect-R2P,” which became the core of  British and American foreign policy for the next twenty years.

In 2012, I wrote:

“… the ‘responsibility to protect’ doctrine advocates discarding over three centuries of the lawful recognition of the supremacy of the sovereign nation state, established by the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, which ended over a century and a half of religious warfare in Europe. Blair’s anti-nation state doctrine insists that the so-called international community has the right to use its more powerful militaries to eliminate governments under the amorphous notion of quote ‘humanitarian intervention.’”

Liberal Democrat George Soros creator of the Open Society, and super funder of liberal causes, supported and expanded Blair‘s new “R2P” doctrine. In his 2004 article in Foreign Policy Magazine, Soros wrote: 

“Sovereignty is anachronistic conception originating in bygone times… it became the cornerstone of international relations with the treaty Westphalia in 1648…The rulers of a sovereign state have responsibility to protect the state’s citizens. When they failed to do so the responsibility is transferred to the international community.”(emphasis added)

Who comprises this supercilious “international community” that decides to disregard the sovereignty of nations, and from whence did they acquire this entitlement?

Will Biden End Foreign Interventions?

President Biden’s August 31, address to the people of the United States, could portend the end of U.S. policy of mis-adventurism around the world, when he said: “This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan. It’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries.” If so, Biden’s presidency will be a turning point in modern history. This moment provides President Biden with a unique opportunity to define a fresh foreign policy approach.

Second filling of GERD that will generate electricity-economic growth for Africa (courtesy of burkena.com)

Let President Biden demonstrate his commitment to this new outlook by reversing his administration’s involvement in undermining the elected government of Ethiopia. The U.S. should be supporting and strengthening PM Abiy in his efforts to secure the nation-state of Ethiopia against separatist-rebels trying to dismember the nation.  Sanctions will not help Ethiopia. It is not in America’s interest to have a weakened Ethiopia. Sanctions are not an effective method of conducting relations with a sovereign nation that has provided stability in the region and been an ally to the U.S. There is no justification for the U.S. to turn against Ethiopia, its erstwhile partner in the Horn of Africa.

Sanctions should be repealed immediately. This will require President Biden curtailing his Secretary of State, Antony Blinken’s proclivities for interventionism and Samantha Power, a longtime supporter of “R2P” and George Soros.   

A new foreign strategy should not be predicated on intruding militarily  or applying political coercion to other nations under the pretext of imposing so called western democracy. Rather we should emulate one of our great U.S. presidents, John Quincy Adams, who said in his 1821 Fourth of July speech, “America goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.”

Instead of weakening nations through sanctions and the withholding funds for development, the U.S. should export republicanism. The U.S. was founded as republic with a government constitutionally mandated to provide for the “general welfare” of its citizens. All great U.S. presidents, regardless of party, understood that fostering economic growth, propelled by advancements in science and technology, was the proper means to ensure prosperity and tranquility.

Ethiopia, although still an emerging nation, has distinguished itself by launching bold initiatives to drive economic development, particularly in the area of infrastructure. Let the basis for a renewed alliance and friendship between Ethiopia and the U.S., be grounded on policies that promote economic progress for Ethiopia’s 110 million citizens.    

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

Africa`s Future Depends on Adopting Nuclear Power Generation

Africa`s Future Depends on Adopting Nuclear Power Generation

This post is reprinted from AfricanAgenda.net, August 28, 2021

Dr Kelvin Kemm, world renowned South African nuclear physicist, explains in detail how nuclear energy is derived from uranium, how this process is 100% safe and the most reliable 24/7 , cheapest and greenest source of energy that we have. Africa is vast and hydro-power, wind and solar will not stand up to the climatic conditions or the sheer vastness of distances that the continent presents. The latest nuclear technology, Small Modular Reactors, which are a South African invention, can provide an energy solution to the continent`s needs. Dr Kemm explains why nuclear has a negative image and a great deal more in this highly informative interview with Ethiopian media, Talk to OBN.

The most fundamental right of a nation is the right to develop its economy for the betterment of its people. Without electricity this is impossible and its citizens will be confined to death and sobering. We must have an all out effort by the leaders of Africa to produce electricity to power the industrial development of their nations.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

End Hunger and Poverty in Africa by Freeing the Continent From ‘Oligarchical’ Interference

August 26, 2021

Watch Lawrence Freeman’s video interview above by Geopolitics and Empire.

Africa has been victimized by outside powers from the beginning of slavery in the 1400s, through colonization, and over the last six decades from neo-colonialization, through control of international finance. African nations have been prevented from becoming economically sovereign intentionally by a political-financial elite, referred to as an oligarchy.  A deliberate policy of under development is obvious from examining the egregious paucity of infrastructure across the African continent. African nations are not overpopulated, but rather; underdeveloped. The lack of electricity is literally killing Africans. There  are no objectives reason for the level of poverty and hunger in Africa. We can eradicate hunger and poverty through investment in restructure, manufacturing, and agriculture.

Let us encourage all people and leaders of good will to make the eradication of poverty and hunger in Africa a great project of humankind, to be accomplished within the next 20 years. Let us not allow the West to use their calls for “democracy and human rights” as cover for intervention against sovereign nations. The failed policy of Afghanistan should put to an end to the numerous interventions by the West under the mantra of “responsibility to protect-R2P” still be advocated by Tony Blair today.

Development is a “human right.” Ethiopia’s commitment to lift its people out of poverty should be supported; not attacked or threatened as the United States has done.  

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

Hard Infrastructure in Africa: Essential for Economic Growth. Development is a Human Right!

August 11, 2021

Watch the video above for a 30 minute discussion on the need for Africa to have 50,000 kilometers of high speed rail lines connecting the continent. Energy, (an additional 1,000 gigawatts of electricity) and railroads are essential for Africa’s development. Electricity is a human right! Railroads are a human right! Development is a human right!

Rowland Ataguba is an expert on Railway Infrastructure Development and has worked extensively around the world. He is the Managing Director of Bethlehem Rail Infrastructure Ltd in London and has experience working on major infrastructure projects in Africa and the U.K. We welcome Rowland to talk with us on all matters concerning the African High Speed Railway Network and his interesting ideas on a very important plan for the future of the continent.

PD Lawton, creator of the website: http://africanagenda.net/

Lawrence Freeman, physical economist

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

What’s Wrong with U.S. Policy for Ethiopia and Africa?

What’s Wrong With U.S. Policy For Ethiopia and Africa?

Lawrence Freeman, July 31, 2021

Knowledgeable American analysts of U.S.-African relations are disturbed by the U.S. government’s treatment of Ethiopia.  In the first six months of the Biden Presidency, we have witnessed a dramatic reversal of U.S. support for a long standing ally in the Horn of Africa.  Ethiopia, the second largest nation in Africa, has been a regional leader, with its bold economic vision to improve the lives of its 110 million people.  

Ethiopia has achieved two major accomplishments under the leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during June and July. First, the successful June 21st national elections, and second, the natural partial filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Regrettably, there were no robust congratulations from President Biden for either achievement. Following the freest, fairest, and most peaceful elections in Ethiopia’s history, U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken’s only comment was: “the United States commends those who exercised their right to vote on June 21.”  Unusual for elections in Africa, not one individual died in Ethiopia’s voting process. In contrast, several Americans died during the January 6th, violent protest of the U.S. electoral vote.  

Equally astonishing, President Biden failed to praise the second filling of almost 14 billion cubic meters of water in the reservoir of the GERD, which will lead to production of electricity later this year. Following in the footsteps of former President Trump, the Biden administration and the Democrat controlled Congress, have tried to discourage Ethiopia from filling the GERD. Despite Ethiopia’s important role in Africa, Prime Minister Abiy’s notable reform movement, and the success of his Prosperity Party, President Biden has never talked to the Prime Minister.

Patient voters during the June 21, Ethiopian election

America’s Agenda for Democracy

Secretary of State Blinken along with several other officials from the Obama administration are leading President Biden’s global foreign policy with their mantra: “democracy, human rights, and rule of law.” But what do these words mean other than a desire to impose their world order on other nations.

Prime Minister Abiy’s non-ethnic based Prosperity Party won overwhelmingly in a democratic election deemed fair, free of violence and intimidation, and credible. Ethiopia Election: A Vote for Peace, Unity, and Prosperity.  Millions of Ethiopians approved of Prime Minister Abiy’s policies, giving him a mandate to lead for another five years. That is democracy.

Shouldn’t “human rights” include the most fundamental right; the right for human beings to live a productive and dignified life?  How is that possible when Africans are suffering from abject poverty, lack of food, clean water, and electricity.  It is not possible. 

The solution lies in physical economic development that transforms the conditions of life. As the Ethiopians are fond of saying: “eliminate poverty, don’t manage it.” Aid is not sufficient. Building vital infrastructure is an absolute necessity, not an option. More than anything else, African nations need electricity—a thousand gigawatts at least. Africa needs a minimum of 50,000 kilometers of high speed railroads.  With the billions of dollars in aid given to African nations, transformative infrastructure projects could have been built. Isn’t the right to electricity a human right?

Then, why hasn’t Ethiopia been profusely praised for building the GERD to produce 6,200 megawatts (6.2 gigawatts) of electricity. Physical economic development is the most fundamental of human rights.

Prime Minister Abiy, responded to the attacks on the Ethiopian National Defense Force, (November 4, 2020), by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), as a leader should.  He used the military capability of his nation to defeat the enemy within Ethiopia. Whatever grievances the TPLF might have had, a violent assault on the government’s military, is an insurrection.  Americans have learned that lesson afresh on January 6th.  Preserving the sovereign nation-state  from a rebel insurgency, is the most supreme responsibility of a Head of State. There is no higher “rule of law,” as President Abraham Lincoln properly understood.

U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken

U.S.-Africa Policy; Does It Exist?

There are several components of U.S. policy towards Africa that undermine Ethiopia’s noteworthy effort to become a self-governing economically independent nation.

First, the U.S. does not have a long term development policy for Africa. It is willing to spend billions of dollars on short term aid, but nothing for large scale infrastructure that would actually improve living conditions. Despite all the attacks, and rantings against China and its Belt and Road, if China were to pull out of Africa it would negatively impact the continent.  That is because the U.S. would not step in to fill the vacuum. Sadly, the last U.S. President that understood the importance of physical economic development in Africa, and acted on it, was John F. Kennedy.   

Second, one cannot underestimate the general level of  ignorance about Africa in U.S. society, especially our elected officials. Yes, there are a few members of Congress who have some knowledge about a few African nations.  However, I can report to you with authority, after observing Washington for decades, that the overwhelming majority of Congress, have little knowledge of the actual dynamics, when implementing legislation affecting African nations, Overall, there is no in-depth historical understanding of the African continent or the nations that comprise it.   

Third, the continent of Africa is close to last on the list of priorities for American Presidents. Often, U.S. policy for African nations is rarely articulated until the second year of a president’s term, except for the standard four page “talking points” paper on Africa.

Why African Leaders Are Opposed

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam-GERD, upper right, will drive economic development in East Africa with its 6,200 megawatts of electrical power.

This final point may be the most difficult for many readers to comprehend.

Following the liberation of African nations from the yoke of colonialism  three score years ago, African leaders, who fight to improve conditions of life on the continent, always face opposition from within and without.  There exists a financial-political elite, perhaps identified as an oligarchy, who see Africa for its material resources and financial gain. They attempt to exploit nations through international finance, manipulated terms of trade, and raw material prices controlled by the City of London based commodity cartels. 

The key concerns of the neo-colonialist financial institutions have always been, if they cannot control the leadership of a country, a  “divide and conquer” tactic is employed to weaken that nation.  War and chaos are the preferred fallback alternatives to losing command of the targeted nation.

They have always opposed genuine development programs that would lift a nation out of poverty, and abhor strong governments and leaders that aspire to national sovereignty. Their ideology is dominated by “geo-politics” that sees the world as a zero sum game of winners and losers.  Those with the most political and financial power are the winners. They have little desire to eliminate poverty. Except for the last one to two decades of China’s intervention, the West has dominated the African continent, with no demonstrable proof that their policies have improved the standard of living for the majority of Africans. Any progress in Africa is the result of national leaders, not Western policy.  

Abiy is seen as a strong leader with enough personal determination to move his nation forward, as evidenced in the rise of the Prosperity Party, which was founded in opposition to ethno-nationalism.

The most recent vivid example of the elimination of an African leader was the overthrow and assassination of President Muammar Gaddafi, followed by the destruction of Libya. Remember this was done by the “liberal” Obama administration, led by then Ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power. Many of those same operatives from the Obama era are now part of the Biden Administration. Have those individuals admitted their culpability in creating the failed state of Libya, and the destruction of North Africa after Gaddafi’s removal? Those same cast of characters are attempting to undermine Ethiopia today with their fake and hollow cries for “democracy, rule of law and human rights.”

There is often a coincidence of action and interests between those insisting on implementing their “liberal” doctrine, and the objectives of the political financial elites.

Samantha Power, then U.N. Ambassador under President Obama, and now head of USAID under President Biden. (courtesy of axios.com)

Almost nine months after Prime Minister Abiy chose to defend his nation, the TPLF, now been rebranded the Tigray Defense Forces (TDF), continues their violent attacks on the state of Ethiopia. After the June 28, unilateral declaration of a ceasefire by the government of Ethiopia, the TDF has launched offensive military deployments against two neighboring regions; Afar and Amhara. Not surprisingly, there have been no statements of condemnation of TDF by the Biden administration or Congress.  Blinken, and the Congress have never  acknowledged Ethiopia’s declaration that the TPLF/TDF is a terrorist organization. Instead, they continued to insist on reconciliation. Thus, establishing an equivalency between a duly constituted government and a rebel insurrectionist militia that is intent on destroying the nation of Ethiopia. This crucial failure, to withhold support from the government of Prime Minister Abiy, is contributing to Ethiopia’s turmoil today.

U.S.-Ethiopia Today

Is the U.S. lack of support for Prime Minister Abiy, encouraging the TDF to continue fighting?  Is the U.S. today still demanding reconciliation with the insurrectionists who have announced their intention to march on Addis Ababa, the capital? Will the TDF military campaigns against other regions spark a greater war?  If the conflict spreads in Ethiopia, will the U.S. accept responsibility for their encouragement of the TDF?

Who benefits if Ethiopia is torn apart by war? As the case of Libya has demonstrated; not Africans.  If Ethiopia was to be torn apart in inter-ethnic warfare, tens of millions of Africans, not just Ethiopians, would suffer extreme hardship.

It is not too late for the Biden administration to correct its policy towards Ethiopia, before more Africans suffer from the spread of ethno-nationalist war.  

Watch my 20 minute interview below, where I discuss the conflict between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan, the filling of the GERD, and U.S. policy towards Ethiopia.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

We Must Have a WW II Type Military Mobilization NOW to Combat Covid-19 in Africa

This report below by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, published July 19, should serve as a call to arms for immediate action to prevent the deaths of several hundred thousand Africans in the months ahead. Now is the time for action; not debate. Africa needs 3 billion doses of the vaccine, not the few hundred thousand doses that are being dribbled out by the Western countries. Africa’s 1.5 billion people must be vaccinated now-not in 2023. We African nations need to upgrade their weak healthcare system. Manufacturing and distributing centers for the vaccine must immediately be created along with necessary infrastructure, logistics, and training. Now is not the time to quibble about money. Human life is more precious than money. Don’t worry about lending money, give the money outright to prevent Africa from experiencing what India has suffered, and potentially far worse.

READ: Spotlight devastating human toll delta-Covid-variant-takes-hold-in-Africa

By the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, July 9, 2021

The surge in the Delta coronavirus variant in Africa is set to cause hundreds of thousands of deaths in the coming months absent a dramatic scaling up of preventative measures and COVID vaccine access.

While parts of the world have seemingly begun to turn the page on the pandemic, COVID’s third wave is the headline story across Africa. There has been a near tripling in the number of COVID cases and 30,000 fatalities on the continent since the end of April when the Delta variant emerged in Uganda.

Read my earliuer posts:

Vaccination and Healthcare for Africa NOW! Prevent Scourge of Covid-19 and Save Lives

Biden Must Lead All-Out Effort to Vaccinate Africa From COVID-19

Rising Covid19 Death Rate Threatens Africa. Vaccinations and Healthcare Must Be Provided

International Cooperation and Collaboration Needed to Save Lives in Africa From COVID-19

New Economic Order Required to Combat COVID-19 in Africa

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

Amb Fitsum Arega Explains Why Ethiopian Dam is A Matter of Life and Death for Ethiopia

The Op Ed below by Ethiopia’s envoy to the United States, Ambassador Fitsum Arega, is an excellent presentation on the importance of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam-GERD, for the future of Ethiopia and Africa.

“Therefore, for Ethiopia, building the GERD is not a matter of choice, but an economic and developmental necessity and the way out of poverty for a nation of 112 million people.”

Reprinted from BlackPressUSA,, July 14, 2021

OP-ED: The Untold Story of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

NNPA NEWSWIRE — In 2011, Ethiopia announced to build a hydroelectric dam on its Abbay River, known to outsiders as the Blue Nile or Nile River. The dam was named the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) because it was designed to bring about the economic and renewal of Ethiopia, a nation mentioned in Genesis 2:13 as the Land in which the River Ghion (or Nile) flows. The GERD will be the largest hydropower dam in Africa and when completed it is expected to generate more than 5,000 MW installed power generation capacity and will have more than two times the capacity of Hoover Dam.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has now reached 81 percent completion that includes 98.5 percent of civil, 55 percent of electromechanical, and 55.3 percent of the hydroelectric structure works.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has now reached 81 percent completion that includes 98.5 percent of civil, 55 percent of electromechanical, and 55.3 percent of the hydroelectric structure works.

By Fitsum Arega, Ethiopian Ambassador to the U.S., Special to the NNPA NewswireFitsum Arega is the Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States.

Fitsum Arega is the Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States.

There is a great story unfolding in Africa. It is a story that literally throws light on what has been called, “The Dark Continent.”

In 2011, Ethiopia announced to build a hydroelectric dam on its Abbay River, known to outsiders as the Blue Nile or Nile River.

The dam was named the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) because it was designed to bring about the economic and renewal of Ethiopia, a nation mentioned in Genesis 2:13 as the Land in which the River Ghion (or Nile) flows.

The GERD will be the largest hydropower dam in Africa and when completed it is expected to generate more than 5,000 MW installed power generation capacity and will have more than two times the capacity of Hoover Dam.

The total capacity of the reservoir is 74 billion cubic meters to be filled over several years. It will cost nearly $5 billion to complete the dam.

The GERD has now reached 81 percent completion that includes 98.5 percent of civil, 55 percent of electromechanical, and 55.3 percent of the hydroelectric structure works.

As seen on the photo, the two water tunnels have been completed and started operating in April this year.

Out of the 13 turbines the first two will be completed and are expected to generate 750 MW in September 2021. The dam is expected to be completed within two years.

The GERD is completely financed by the contributions of the Ethiopian people without any foreign aid or loans. It is being built with the blood, sweat and tears of the Ethiopian people.

Ethiopia generates 85 percent of the Nile River flow, but colonial-era and postcolonial agreements on the Nile, to which Ethiopia was not a party, have given Egypt the disproportionate amount of water while giving Sudan a lesser amount. These agreements gave zero water allocation to Ethiopia. Egypt today wants to keep the old colonial arrangement in place in one form or another.

According to a 2018 World Bank report, “About 70 percent of the population in Ethiopia live without electricity.”

The purpose of the GERD is to provide access to electricity to more than 60 million Ethiopians and provide affordable electricity to the service, industrial and agricultural sectors.

It also aligns with Ethiopia’s green development ambitions as it represents a sustainable socio-economic project replacing fossil fuels reducing CO2 emissions.

Therefore, for Ethiopia, building the GERD is not a matter of choice, but an economic and developmental necessity and the way out of poverty for a nation of 112 million people.

The GERD will also provide many benefits to the entire Horn of Africa region and beyond. It will provide affordable and renewable energy to Sudan, Egypt and other countries in the region.

It will also significantly help in regulating the supply of water to Egypt and Sudan during dry and wet seasons and provide regional water storage capacity with less evaporation and prevent flooding to Sudan and Egypt, all these at no cost to both countries.

In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam.

Hardly a day goes by without complaints from Egypt and Sudan about the harm that could result from construction of the GERD. They claim they will get less water because of the dam.

That is far from the truth because the GERD releases the water downstream once the water is used to spin the turbines that produce electricity. GERD is not an irrigation or water consuming project.

Ethiopia has been open and transparent in its construction of the GERD. Ethiopia has invited both Egypt and Sudan in good faith to participate in the International Panel of Experts (IPOE) to discuss the design, work together on technical issues and resolve any issues of concern in the spirit of African brotherhood.

Unfortunately, Egypt has tried to pressure Ethiopia by coordinating action with the Arab League, which has issued various statement of solidarity with Egypt and against Ethiopia.

Egypt has also tried to use the Trump administration to pressure Ethiopia. In September 2020, the Trump administration “paused” U.S. aid to Ethiopia because Ethiopia would not agree to a deal on the GERD drafted by Egypt and the U.S.

Egypt has also taken the issue before the U.N. Security Council to pressure Ethiopia. Just last week, the Security Council considered the matter and determined that the African Union is the best forum to deal with the issues.

Ethiopia’s position on GERD negotiations is guided by a simple principle. “African solutions to African problems.”

While the Arab League and the U.S. could play a role in encouraging the three countries to resolve their differences diplomatically, the fact remains that the three African countries must use their own resources at the African Union to deal with their problems.

Ethiopia’s principle of African solutions to African problems is based on the belief that Africans are fully capable of taking care of their own problems without interference. Indeed, after nearly seven decades of independence, Africa has the leadership and resources to deal with its own problems.

Ethiopia is acutely aware of the fact that Africa’s post-colonial experience and more recent trends in foreign interference in African affairs has not been positive.

Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan signed their joint Declaration of Principles (DOP) in 2015. The DOP is based on 10 basic principles which require the three countries to work cooperatively and in good faith to negotiate and resolve differences on the GERD.

They agreed to work cooperatively among themselves, without external interference, to ensure regional integration, prevent significant harm from construction of the dam, share data on the dam’s performance, increase dam safety and commit to peaceful resolution of disputes.

Egypt has given lip service to African Union involvement in resolution of GERD disputes.

Egypt’s reliance on the Arab League and efforts to use the U.S. to pressure Ethiopia, reflect either lack of confidence in the AU or a determination that external pressure can even override AU efforts and give Egypt greater negotiating advantage. This may account for Egypt’s lack of serious commitment and unwillingness to negotiate within the AU framework.

To date, no significant harm has been caused to Egypt or Sudan as a result of the ongoing construction of the GERD.

The first filling of the dam in July 2020 went uneventfully. The current filling which is ongoing since early July 2021 has presented no issues as well. Egypt has issued a public statement to that effect.

Ethiopia believes the GERD will bring many benefits to the Horn region and beyond. A comprehensive agreement on the GERD between the two countries is possible today if Egypt and Sudan genuinely commit to the AU-led negotiations. The negotiations could be expedited and bear fruit if Egypt and Sudan undertake the following:

  • Fully and wholeheartedly commit the negotiations taking place under the sponsorship of the African Union.
  • Apply the 2015 Declaration of Principles in guiding the negotiations.
  • Refrain from engaging in propaganda and disinformation wars during the AU-led negotiations.
  • Depoliticize the GERD, exert maximum political will and focus on resolving technical issues.

A negotiated, mutually beneficial and equitable solution is the only way to achieve long-term interests in the region.

Ethiopia is committed to continue to push for a constructive negotiation to reach a mutually beneficial agreement that ensures the legitimate interests of the three countries.

Ethiopia believes the only way to resolve the differences regarding the filling and operation of GERD is through dialogue and by resorting to technically informed consultations.

The Nile is bountiful for all countries to share and use wisely. We must all think in terms of regional and collective benefits.

Paraphrasing the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan are part of “an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” We must work together in good faith and good will for the betterment of our people.

Fitsum Arega is the Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

Nigeria Expands Railroads and Strives for Self Sufficiency in Rice

Positive Developments for Nigeria : Railway  Infrastructure and Value Addition in Agriculture

Bellow is a very informative article by my colleague, PD Lawton, creator of the website AfricanAfenda.net, on Nigeria’s expansion of its railroad network and its policy to become food self sufficient. 

11 July 2021

Under the visionary leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria has become a key African partner in the Belt and Road Initiative. The benefits of Nigeria`s participation in the BRI are outlined in this article:

https://www.vanguardngr.com/2020/01/how-chinas-belt-and-road-initiative-affects-nigeria-africa/

President Buhari has said that Nigeria cannot be seen as an island, that the country will never have peace and prosperity while its neighbours live in poverty.

In saying that, he expressed the spirit of the New Silk Road, the Belt and Road Initiative, and the ethos of a shared future for mankind.

It is for that reason that President Buhari has championed extension of the railway into Niger.The Nigerian Railway Modernization Project will revolutionize national and regional trade.

https://railbus.com.ng/index.php/events/kano-maradi-railway-buharis-new-corridor-linking-sahelo-sahara-with-nigerian-coast/embed/#?secret=rRVmDJ7xaw

The railway network will be extended to Maradi in Niger which is one of the landlocked neighbours along with Burkina Faso and Chad who currently only have road access to sea ports in Accra in Ghana, Cotonou in Benin and Lome in Togo. In September 2020, the Nigerian government announced the funding of $1.9 billion to construct the 250km line from Kano to Maradin, a village in Niger. In Maradin, warehouses will be built for cargo.

As of the 12 January 2021 the contract for the $1.9 bn line from Kano -Maradi has been signed with Portuguese construction firm Mota- Engil.

https://railbus.com.ng/index.php/events/nigeria-signs-1-9bn-contract-for-kano-niger-railway-line/embed/#?secret=duHYGRBMQq

For centuries the trans-Saharan trade route went from Maradi to Kano and was prosperous until colonialism and more recently destabilizing forces changed such fortunes. The original city of Maradi is ancient , dating back thousands of years to the time of the Silk Road.

The remaining section from Maradin to Maradi will be financed and built by Niger.The contractor for the Nigerian line is a Portuguese company (Mota-Engil). The line is being financed by two European banks.

The government has been heavily criticized for extending the rail network beyond its borders.The Kano-Maradi line goes from the northern capital, Kano, across the border into Niger to the town of Maradi which has a population of 267,000.

The critics say that Niger has nothing to offer. There are cities in Nigeria that have a higher income than the entire Niger State, which is geographically larger than Nigeria but mostly desert and desperately poor.The critics say why help Nigeriens when Nigerians are suffering ? The government is being accused internationally of trying to capture the trade that currently goes to the port of Cotonou in Benin and of favouring the Muslim north of Nigeria to garner popularity for President Buhari`s APC ( All Progressives Congress) party. So why extend the line to Niger?

Because Africa must unite.

Apart from gold deposits, Niger is considered to have only one asset, uranium.Since 1968, Areva, an 80% French state-owned corporation has obviously been the main beneficiary in a partnership which is definitely not `win-win`. Niger is the 4th largest uranium producer globally. It has high grade deposits. Areva ( now called Orano)pays 5.5% tax and royalties to the Nigerien government. When asked to raise this pathetic ammount, the extraction plant ceased service for a number of weeks and the tax rate remained unchanged.

Image : African arguments. Resident of Arlit sells the daily ration of water.

https://africanarguments.org/2017/07/18/a-forgotten-community-the-little-town-in-niger-keeping-the-lights-on-in-france-uranium-arlit-areva/

Mining in Africa is dominated by the City of London extractive interests. The level of tax and royalties paid to government is consistently low. Glencore Xstrata is one of the main culprits

Uranium is mined near the towns of Arlit and Akokan, 1200 km northeast of the capital, Niamey, on the western range of the Air mountains. The mined ore is transported by truck 1600 km to Parakou in Benin, from where it is transported by rail, 400 km to Cotonou Port and then exported.

Between them, Niger and Namibia, two of Africa`s most arid and impoverished countries, could be supplying all of Africa`s uranium, not if, but when, the continent turns to nuclear power. However, uranium should not be regarded as Niger`s primary asset. Instead we should regard the 23 million Nigeriens as the source of true wealth because it is they, given the creative freedom from absolute poverty, who have the potential to transform the economy of their country.

The African Development Bank is funding a program to strengthen Niger`s rural economy. Food shortages, malnutrition and outright starvation are a permanent situation for the majority of Niger`s rural population. In 2013, only 8% of the population had access to electricity. 82% had no access to sanitation. As of 2020, 15% of people have electricity. According to World Data, Niger has an annual energy consumption of 1.07 billion kWh which is 46kWh per person per year. Life expectancy is around 60. There are no railways at present.

If China has elliminated absolute poverty in one of its poorest and dryest regions, the Uygur Region, there is no reason at all why it cannot be done in a country like Niger, provided that Africa as a whole, adopts the Chinese methods of developing the physical economy.
Niger is a partner in the BRI. On a State visit to Beijing in 2019, President Mahamadou Issoufou and President Xi Jinping agreed to strengthen ties within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative,stressing the importance of carrying out key projects in infrastructure, people’s livelihood, energy and agriculture. China has also committed to assisting Niger with technology and skills transfer in all fields including building a modernized health care system.

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-05/28/c_138097788.htm.

NUCLEAR ENERGY FOR NIGERIENS

To the critics of the Kano-Maradi railway we can say that maybe `today` Niger has little to offer but `tomorrow` it will be the Sahelian Region`s largest energy exporter and it will be Niger that powers industry from Mauritania to Sudan!

In 2015, as part of the Niger Renaissance Programme, the government hosted a conference in Niamey, capital of Niger, to initiate a national nuclear power program under the umbrella of the West African Integrated Nuclear Power Group (WAINPG) to study the feasibility of regional nuclear power capability.

The Nigerien High Authority for Atomic Energy (Haute Autorité Nigérienne à l’Energie Atomique (HANEA) have submitted Phase 1 of the feasability study to the IAEA. This was done in 2018. Japan has assisted in the funding of the proposal.

IAEA -Niger: Integrated Nuclear  Infrastructure Review (PDF)

Niger, despite being arid. does have plentiful rainful around the Niger Delta but the rain is torrential for a period of weeks often leading to flooding. The government have built dykes but even these failed recently under the volume of water. Not only did this cause loss of life, homes and livelihoods for thousands, but many rice fields and granaries were ruined further contributing to food shortages.

NIGER AND BEYOND

The African Integrated High Speed Rail Network ( AIHSRN) includes a link from Lagos to Algiers which will directly link the Gulf of Guinea to the Mediterranean. The route traverses Niger which will be of immeasurable value to the economy of Nigeria, Niger and Algeria and will contribute greatly to the stability of the Sahel region.

Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, conducted many interviews with the Nigerian press during the this year`s 60th Independence Anniversary in which he said:

Last week, we awarded the contract for Kano to Maradi and people were screaming why are we taking it to Niger Republic. It’s important to take it to Niger because of economic reasons. Most coastal territories in Africa are competing better than us in terms of cargoes coming from not the hinterland, the landlocked countries. “We decided to join the market and compete so that we can make our seaports very viable. We decided to introduce the Kano-Maradi rail so that we can convey their goods from Maradi (a boundary village) to our ports with ease. I don’t know why people are screaming about it. It’s about economics, not politics.

You should know that railway generates employment and that as you move from Kano to Maradi you’re going to to go to Kano, Dutse, Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibia before you get to Maradi, imagine the number of persons that you’ll create jobs for just at the beginning of the construction. “At the end of construction, imagine the number of businesses that you can site along with that area just because there is transportation. So when you talk about timing, poverty doesn’t have timing, unemployment is causing insecurity and banditry is a product of poverty, not just lack of education. So you have to find an alternative to those who participate in banditry. “So what we are trying to create is a source of growing the economy of Nigeria and creating opportunities for those who want to do real business, so they’ll be able to move their manufactured goods and reduce the cost of production around that area. That’s what we are trying to do.

NIGERIA`S NATIONAL MODERNIZED RAILWAY NETWORK

The Nigerian Railway Modernization Project, will connect Lagos in the south west to Kano in the far north, by standard gauge railway.The modernized national rail network is around 3000 kilometers in length and of standard gauge. It will connect all major cities and link to the ports. The network will link to Niger.

It is replacing and expanding on the old colonial era narrow gauge system which was slow, inefficient and by 2013 all but collapsed with only the Lagos to Kano ( south to north) line operational. The average speed was 45km/h and the journey took 31 hours. With the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan line, that leg of the journey now takes less than 2 hours!

In 2006 an agreement was signed with the China Civil Engineering Construction Company for $8.3 billion. The entire project will cost $36 – $40 billion.The CCEC has, over the last years, constructed the Abuja-Kaduna Railway , Abuja Mass Transit Railway, Itapke-Warri Railway and now the Lagos-Ibadan line. The project, which is funded by China`s Exim Bank and the Nigerian government, is being built in segments to spread the cost over time.

The new metro light rail system in Abuja will be connected to the National Rail Network. Abuja Airport is also connected to the new metro network and the city centre (Abuja’s Central Business District). The Abuja Metro is the first light rail system in West Africa. The metro relieves traffic congestion, is reliable, fast and safe, and cheaper than local taxis.The metro will link Abuja with the towns of Nyanya, Kubwa, Mararaba and Lugbe in the near future.

Expansion is planned for the ports at Lekki and Bonny to make them deep water harbours of between 17 -18 metres deep. A new river port will be built at Warri and Ibom.

Lekki Port expansion is under construction. It will be Nigeria`s deepest sea port and is situated in the Lagos Free Trade Zone. It will be one of the most modern in West Africa. Minister of Transport, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has tasked the project managers with commencement of commercial activities by 2022.

The Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line will link the north eastern region to the eastern sea port of Bonny which has been approved already, work will commence soon. From Bonny the line will go to Port Harcourt – Aba- Umuahia – Enugu – Makurdi – Lafia – Jos – Kafanchan – Bauchi – Gombe – Damaturu, and Maiduguri, with a spur from Port Harcourt to Owerri.

According to the Transport Minister Amaechi :

Where we have about two seaports or river ports in Port Harcourt, you’ll be able to transport a lot of Iron Ore deposits from the North East through the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri rail. The completion of this project which we hope that if it doesn’t start this year, will start the first quarter of next year, the completion, will move cargo, create employment, create industrial development and it will grow the economy.

Transport Minister Amaechi explained that ports and rail work together:

Currently, Nigerians move about 30 million cargoes between Lagos and Kano in a year. The capacity of the Nigerian Railway Corporation as of today is about 200,000 cargoes per year. That’s appalling. So, if you want to make the factors of production to be cheap and make our goods competitive, then you must provide logistics, either the road, by air or by railway. But the cheapest form of transport in this regard is the railway because it’s subsidised by the government. So the idea of complying with the instruction by the president that all railways must terminate at the seaport is because you want to move your cargo. The moment you begin to move cargo, you’ll see the transformation. The movement of cargo will improve the industrial development of Nigeria.

The Lagos to Calabar line will run along the coast.  It will be 1,400 km and will link all the key sea and river ports.It will run from Calabar – Uyo – Aba – Port Harcourt – Yenogua – Otuoke – Ughelli – Warri – Sapele – Benin – Ore – Ijebu-Ode – Lagos.

The Abuja to Kaduna rail line is completed and in service since 2016. It is 186km long. Itakpe-Warri line is completed which is 326 kilometres long.

The Lagos-Ibadan line is the first double-track standard gauge modern railway in West Africa.It is 156km long. Track-laying of the high speed standard gauge railway from Lagos to Ibadan was constructed  by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC). The project was started in March 2017. The line is now in service and has 10 stations.

The main station is in Lagos and will act as the operations centre as well as a passenger terminus. Initially 3 pairs of trains will run each day. The maximum capacity that the project is designed to accommodate is an incredible 15 pairs (inward and outward bound) per day!

The building which is still under construction, will be a colossal 11,200 square meters. It will be the largest railway station in West Africa with a capacity for 6000 passengers. It was hoped that the building will be completed by the end of 2020.

Investment in infrastructure leads to the growth of ancillary industries. In the case of the Nigerian Railway Modernization Project, a new factory in Kajola, Ogun Province is just one example. The factory will bring an initial 5000 jobs and will be manufacturing the rolling stock for the new, modernized railways. It will then proceed to supplying the rest of West Africa and beyond!

https://www.waystocap.com/blog/which-country-is-the-largest-producer-of-rice-in-africa/

Nigeria: Value Addition in Agriculture

In 2015, Nigeria initiated the Value Chain Development Program that is improving cassava and rice value chains for small farmers in targeted districts The program aims at increasing productivity in the staple sector, increasing food production and thereby reducing poverty.70% of Nigerians live in rural areas and are small farmers who produce 90% of the nation`s agricultural products. Dire poverty in Nigeria is mostly in rural, agriculture-based communities and it is these communities that the government are targeting.

According to the Nigerian Statehouse website:

https://statehouse.gov.ng/policy/economy/economic-recovery-and-growth-plan/embed/#?secret=vA1V5dnDqY

“The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) is a Medium Term Plan for 2017 – 2020, developed by the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for the purpose of restoring economic growth while leveraging the ingenuity and resilience of the Nigerian people – the nation’s most priceless assets.”

The program aims to put the oil-based economy on an entirely different trajectory to transform the economy and thereby alleviate poverty.Key components are the Nigerian Railway Modernization Project which is part of the Nigeria Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan which includes the construction of new, or modernization of existing, ports, bridges and road networks.

According to the Statehouse website:

“This Plan will use science, technology and innovation to drive growth. It also provides a blueprint for laying the foundation for future generations by focusing on building the capabilities of the youths of Nigeria to be able to take the country into the future.”

“Using agriculture to achieve food security, create jobs and save foreign exchange for food imports. Plans are already in place for national self-sufficiency in rice by 2018 and wheat by 2019/2020. Successful harvests will contribute in reducing inflation and promoting economic diversification.”

The Nigerian Agricultural Transformation Agenda was initiated in 2013. It is a program to alleviate rural poverty and increase production.Since the discovery of crude oil, IMF`s globalist policy has been to advise on oil export and food import which over the years harmed the country`s agricultural industry with cheap foreign imports having a negative effect on domestic production.

Rice self-sufficiency had reached 84% by start of 2019. Government and private sector initiatives have provided support,credit,training and seed, along with even distribution of rice milling (polishing) plants across all regions.

Mechanization solutions and the case for small modular processing plants are some of the innovative ideas being pushed by Richard Ogundele, CEO of JMSF Agribusiness Nigeria, a key player in the agricultural transformation program. According to him:

Another thing that we could see working here, is SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) branding. The farmers who grow them and the processors at that lower level, need to understand quality assurance from the start to the market end. And that`s where branding comes in, packaging, handling,storage and distribution. So opportunity for logistics is also there. Logistics in agriculture is still a challenge across Nigeria, storage, transportation, packaging, handling. We need improvements in this value chain service provision area. So if anyone is interested in this sector, we can always guide them and talk it through. And of course there will be the multiplying effect on the economy because more jobs will be created along the value chain for those who will be offering services to the core operations within the sector.”

Infrastructure, including water infrastructure, is having an immensely positive effect on production.

Nigeria is currently the largest rice producing country in Africa.

This is largely the result of conscientious efforts by the current administration to place more emphasis on agrarian production. The move was aimed at reducing the nation’s over reliance on oil which has in the past year proved economically devastating as oil prices plummeted on the global market.

The government is also keen on improving the country’s self-sufficiency and reducing the commodity’s import burden that currently runs into almost $400 million annually. Rice farming in the country has received a boost from the local central bank through the Anchor Borrowers Program that avails loans and distributes requisite tools to farmers to boost production.
By the end of 2017, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture director claimed that the country had indeed reached self-sufficiency in the commodity. According to a report from the ministry, the country’s production capacity had reached 15 million metric tons. This would translate to major savings as the country would no longer need to import the commodity.
The country in fact consumes about 8 million tons, a figure that rises by about 6% annually. It is therefore projected that with around 34 states involved in rice cultivation the country would have a surplus for export by the year 2019. The country is taking steps to control the rampant smuggling that has had a negative impact on local market prices.

Source:

Rice is the Nigerian staple. Local Nigerian varieties of rice are found to be of a higher nutritional value than imported rice.The local rice is not as highly polished which increases nutritional value and it consumed fresher compared to imported rice which can be many years old.

Nigeria`s self-sufficiency policy has caused `rice wars` with international exporters flooding the market with super cheap, low-quality produce. This has resulted in a series of protests from within the country as people demand cheap rice. It has been difficult for the government to convince the nation that by supporting the domestic market, they will have a better product which will become cheaper over time as production increases.

The black-market for rice is a continuing problem as Nigeria`s expansive borders are porous and rice is routinely smuggled across from Benin.

In September 2020 the government stopped tomato imports and has adopted a similar tactic to boost tomato production by value adding and processing into puree, thereby supporting domestic tomato growers and to encourage job creation.

The Nigerian government recently announced the release of funding for 300,000 new affordable homes which are to be built with 90% local materials, further supporting the national economy.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton